Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)

Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)

Ascorbic acid is vitamin C, an antioxidant that’s sometimes used as a dietary supplement or to prevent and treat scurvy (a disease caused by a lack of vitamin C in the body).

People also commonly take vitamin C to lessen the severity of symptoms associated with the common cold.

Vitamin C is important for maintaining healthy bones, teeth, connective tissue, muscles, skin, and capillaries. It also helps your body absorb iron.

Many foods are naturally high in vitamin C, including citrus fruits, leafy vegetables, and tomatoes.

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What is Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) used for?

  • Dietary Supplement
  • Urinary Acidification
  • Scurvy
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What is the most important information I should know about Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)?

You should not use ascorbic acid if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a vitamin C supplement.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist about using ascorbic acid if you have:

  • kidney disease or a history of kidney stones;
  • hereditary iron overload disorder (hematochromatosis); or
  • if you smoke (smoking can make ascorbic acid less effective).

Your dose needs may be different during pregnancy or while you are breast-feeding a baby. Do not use ascorbic acid without your doctor's advice in either case.

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Side Effects

What are the side effects of Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using ascorbic acid and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • joint pain, weakness or tired feeling, weight loss, stomach pain;
  • chills, fever, increased urge to urinate, painful or difficult urination; or
  • severe pain in your side or lower back, blood in your urine.

Common side effects may include:

  • heartburn, upset stomach; or
  • nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Can I take Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

Your dose needs may be different during pregnancy or while you are breast-feeding a baby. Do not use ascorbic acid without your doctor's advice in either case.

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What drugs and food should I avoid while taking Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

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Dosage Guidelines & Tips

How to take Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)?

Use Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) increases with age. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions. You may also consult the Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health, or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nutrient Database (formerly "Recommended Daily Allowances") listings for more information.

Drink plenty of liquids while you are taking ascorbic acid.

The chewable tablet must be chewed before you swallow it.

Ascorbic acid gum may be chewed as long as desired and then thrown away.

Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole.

Measure liquid medicine with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Keep the orally disintegrating tablet in the package until you are ready to take it. Use dry hands to remove the tablet and place it in your mouth. Do not swallow the tablet whole. Allow it to dissolve in your mouth without chewing. Swallow several times as the tablet dissolves.

Store ascorbic acid at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Do not stop using ascorbic acid suddenly after long-term use at high doses, or you could have "conditional" vitamin C deficiency. Symptoms include bleeding gums, feeling very tired, and red or blue pinpoint spots around your hair follicles. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your dose. Conditional vitamin C deficiency can be difficult to correct without medical supervision.

What should I do if I missed a dose of Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

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Overdose Signs

What happens if I overdose on Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on: Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C),  call your doctor or the Poison Control center
(800) 222-1222
If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), call 911
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What to Expect

If you’re taking vitamin C for scurvy, your symptoms should start to improve within 24 to 48 hours. You should feel much better in about one to two weeks.

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Additional Dosage Information

Your dosage will depend on your medical condition, age, and other factors.

Vitamin C is sometimes combined with other vitamins or minerals as a composite product.

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Secondary Uses

Vitamin C is used for many medical ailments that aren’t listed in this guide. For example, taking vitamin C supplements may help prevent age-related macular degeneration from getting worse.

While some people take the supplement for cancer, heart disease, or dementia, research is inconclusive about whether vitamin C can help these conditions.

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Color: brown

Shape: capsule

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LCI 1353, 2

Color: white

Shape: round

Imprint: LCI 1353, 2

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Medical Disclaimer

Drugs A-Z provides drug information from Everyday Health and our partners, as well as ratings from our members, all in one place. Cerner Multum™ provides the data within some of the Overview, Uses, Warnings, Side Effects, Pregnancy, Interactions, Dosage, Overdose, and Images sections. The information within all other sections is proprietary to Everyday Health.